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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

n8       HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

and some of the barbarian kings who fell heir to parts of their
empire followed their example in this respect. Theodoric, the
first king of the Ostrogoths, who at the beginning of the Sixth
Century ruled Italy with the help of Cassiodorus in a manner
worthy of the best emperors, encouraged the public schools and
sent his grandson to be educated there. At the end of the same
century we find the Merovingian king Chilperic in Gaul sending
missives to all the towns in his kingdom, giving orders that the
children were to be taught to read the Greek letters which he had
added to the Roman alphabet. And Sigebert, King of East Anglia,
as we have seen, wished a school to be established in his kingdom
on the model of those with which he was acquainted in Gaul,
evidently imitating the practice of one of Chilperic's successors.
The Carlovingian dynasty, which succeeded the Merovingians,
was no less interested in education. Pepin, the father of Charles
the Great, supported the ecclesiastical reforms of the West Anglian
missionary St. Boniface, which prepared the way for a revival of
learning, and encouraged the advent of missionaries and scholars
from England and Ireland. Under his auspices, too, the Palace
School for the nobles, which is said (on very slender evidence)
to have had its origin in Merovingian times, assumed a new
importance.

But the most outstanding of all the royal patrons of learning
was Charles the Great (768-814). More clearly than any of his
predecessors, he realized the necessity of education for national
well-being, and he endeavoured systematically to promote
learning throughout the great kingdom which he had created by
force of arms out of the various nations from the Ebro to the
Elbe. He himself was a man of remarkable force of intellect, with
a desire for knowledge which led him, in spite of constant martial
distractions, to acquire a considerable acquaintance with Latin
and Greek as well as with astronomy and the kindred sciences.
In pursuance of his ambition to raise his people out of barbarism
by the diffusion of learning, he invited scholars from many lands
to his court. Amabat peregrinos, says his biographer. His first
assistants in the work of education were Peter of Pisa, a grammar-
ian under whom Charles set himself to study literature, and Paulus
Diaconus, a Benedictine monk who afterwards wrote a* famous
History of the Lombards, both of them Italians. Helped by them,
he began the task of reform with the clergy, by enjoining on the